Will Falcons keep Julio Jones on ice while waiting for a trade partner?

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The Falcons began trying to trade receiver Julio Jones more than six weeks ago. They have still found no takers, at least not for the terms that Falcons seek.

The problem continues to be that the Falcons want too much; otherwise, a deal would be done. Unless the Falcons relent in their desire for a straight first-round pick (with no draft-pick compensation flowing back to the new team along with Jones) and no obligation to pay any of his salary for 2021 or 2022, they’ll need to wait and see whether an injury to a receiver elsewhere creates a need — or whether a team decides at some point that Jones represents the missing piece of a Super Bowl run.

Before Jones declared “I’m out of there” during a conversation that he apparently didn’t know was being broadcast by FS1, one possible approach consisted of the Falcons keeping Jones through training camp and into the regular season, with the goal of trading him before the deadline that arrives on the Tuesday after Week Eight. It’s now clear that the Falcons won’t be doing that.

Here’s another potential strategy: The Falcons and Jones could agree that he’ll be placed on ice until a market develops. Under this approach, he’d stay away from training camp, the preseason, and the regular season, with permission. He’d agree to do so. And the Falcons would wait for the best offer to come.

Some would say that another team will be willing to give up more for Jones now, when it can get a full season of performance from him. Others would say that the trades of Mohamed Sanu (second-round pick) and Emmanuel Sanders (third-round pick) from the 2019 season show that teams will loosen the vault of draft picks once they begin to develop in-season momentum and conjure visions of a Super Bowl berth.

Again, Jones would have to be on board with this strategy. If he wants to force the issue, he could show up, whether during voluntary offseason workouts or mandatory minicamp or training camp. The Falcons would be forced to let him work out and practice, risking an injury that would put them on the hook for the full amount of his 2021 salary, or pull the trigger on a trade.

Even if he’s not inclined to return to practice with the Falcons, Jones and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, could begin to jostle privately or publicly for the Falcons to take one of the offers that is on the table but deemed by owner Arthur Blank (who wants at least a second-round pick given the trades that sent Sanu to the Patriots and brought Hayden Hurst from Baltimore) to not be good enough. Then again, Jones may prefer to wait and see whether he’s landing with a true contender. The longer it takes for the process to play out, the more likely that a true contender will become the team that makes the move for Jones.

Regardless, there’s currently no deal that the Falcons regard as good enough. If there were, he’d be traded. Time will tell whether they’ll blink, or whether one of the interested teams will.

30 responses to “Will Falcons keep Julio Jones on ice while waiting for a trade partner?

  1. & the wheels on the bus go round & round, round & round round & round & the wheels on the bus go round & round….. well, I guess you see my point here….

  2. Given that the CBA makes fines for missing minicamp and training camp mandatory and teams cannot rescind them, I certainly don’t think “let’s agree on you staying home and racking up eventual 7-figure fines” is going to be a great strategy for Julio.

  3. A lot depends what Julio wants. If he wants to win a SB, then the “on ice” strategy makes sense. If he really wants a new contract, whether immediately or after a “prove it” season, then it makes much more sense to push for a trade now so he gives himself the best chance. An in-season trade after not playing for a year and trying to learn a new system while developing chemistry with a new QB will probably translate into mediocre numbers which won’t help his chances for a big new contract.

  4. If he ends up in Seattle he probably wants a new contract? They just paid Lockett 4 yr 68 million extension.. then Metcalf is eligible for a contact extension after this season!!! Hawks drafted eskridge in the 2nd round to be our 3rd receiver…. if a trade did happen.. hawks 2nd round pick eskeridge would be our 4th receiver… would be a waste

  5. Every day of camp and especially game he misses, his value goes down, not up.

  6. But…but…the Falcons TOLD us they already had an offer for a 1st round pick…

  7. I thought Seattle was pretty much a done deal. And Tennesee. And Baltimore.

  8. I would just take the highest bid. Then again, I’m not a billionaire. So perhaps winning isn’t the most important thing. Just kidding. I know the NFL is all about money.

  9. Getting old stinks. For Jones and the Falcons, getting old and not truly realizing it must stink even more.

  10. jefflocc says:
    June 3, 2021 at 10:53 am
    If he ends up in Seattle he probably wants a new contract?
    //////
    Why Seattle? And where are they getting the cap space from to trade for him?

  11. All this does is hurt the Falcons.

    Their price is too high and they’ve been enabling him to think he needs a new deal.

    This is why Bb tries to trade higher profile players out 1 year ahead instead of 1 or 2 years too late.

  12. To me, the Falcons logic is flawed.

    At the time of the trade for Hurst, he was in his prime–26 years old. At 32.5 years old when the 2021 season starts, Quintorris Lopez’s best days are behind him.

    The Patriots 2019 trade of what turned out to be the 2020 Round 2 55th overall pick hardly sets any precedent. When Harry went down, all they had was Edelman [the other veterans, i.e. Antonio Brown, Josh Gorden & Phillip Dorsett, didn’t work out particularly well]. They were desperate for a WR and in the playoff hunt.

    Teams have just completed free agency and the 2021 draft. Odds are, if they needed a WR, they got one. There’s no urgency for any team to take on $15.3 Million guaranteed, plus give up a 1st Round draft pick, for an aging WR.

    Such a trade could be reminiscent of when the Lions mortgaged the future by trading the No. 8 overall pick, which turned out to be Hall of Fame LT Willie Roaf, for an aging Pat Swilling, who gave the Lions one decent season before falling off a cliff.

  13. >> If he really wants a new contract, whether immediately or after a “prove it” season, then it makes much more sense to push for a trade now so he gives himself the best chance.

    I am not sure his main goal right now is a new contract. I assume trying to win a ring would be of more immediate import. In that case, (A) being traded to a contender, (B) refer to A!, and (C) being traded ASAP would seem to be best positioning for him. I wonder if he is willing to have some flexibility contract-wise to be able to affect his destination (at 32 his next team will be his best chance). If it was me, I would likely be willing to do a restructuring if it kept the $ the same *IF* I liked the team I was being traded to.

  14. touchback6 says:
    June 3, 2021 at 11:27 am
    All this does is hurt the Falcons.

    Their price is too high and they’ve been enabling him to think he needs a new deal.

    This is why Bb tries to trade higher profile players out 1 year ahead instead of 1 or 2 years too late.

    ———

    So when is BB going to unload the two busts known as N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn?

  15. It is like selling a house. If you put the house on the market and it isn’t selling you lower the price. So too Julio. The Falcons have to come to grips with the fact that teams are not tripping over themselves to trade for a 32 year old receiver coming off an injury with a massive contract.

  16. touchback6 says:
    June 3, 2021 at 11:27 am
    All this does is hurt the Falcons.

    Their price is too high and they’ve been enabling him to think he needs a new deal.

    This is why Bb tries to trade higher profile players out 1 year ahead instead of 1 or 2 years too late.
    _________

    Then why is Stephon Gilmore still a Patriot?

  17. Mandatory fines and the potential of not being paid while suffering an injury away from the team facility makes keeping Julio “on ice” a lose-lose strategy.

  18. As a Seahawk fan I don’t understand why our team would be interested in trading for Julio….our offense is stacked as it is – we need defensive pieces. I’d rather Sea traded for Gilmore or some other vet defensive player.

  19. The Falcons should get a 1st round pick for Jones. He only played 9 games last year and still had 771 yards and caught 75% of the passes thrown his way. Maybe he’s slower from his age, but you won’t find a rookie catching 75% of the passes thrown his way in the first round.

  20. The Falcons are ranked dead last for the amount of Salary Cap money available. Trading Jones was a way for them to free up money and sign their draft picks. How does putting Jones on ice help?

  21. I would nit call Isiah Wynn a bust. he’s had injury problems but he’s a solid player Wynn healthy.

  22. It’s very simple — DO YOUR JOB — is how Brady, Belichick, and a team of guys have a handful of rings.

  23. The last extension he signed doesn’t even start until this season, nobody in their right mind is giving him another deal that would kick in starting in 2025. The Falcons put themselves in this spot by constantly giving him new money in extensions. They aren’t getting a first round pick for another team to deal with that.

  24. Maybe the Falcons need to revise their strategy and attempt to acquire a proven pass rusher and a draft pick for Jones. The 2020 sack leader had 4.5. While they’ve added Dante Fowler, he’s not going to be playing on a line with Aaron Donald anymore.

    Or, maybe the Falcons make a deal with the Browns, who are primed to content in the AFC, and have a young ascending WR (Donovan Peoples Jones), to include in a trade for Julio Jones. Lesser draft pick compensation, but the Falcons get a very inexpensive WR who averaged 21.4 ypc last season.

  25. He has to go to sign draft picks everyone knows this. The falcons have no leverage if not traded some major cuts come in just to sign picks and keep Julio. Other teams know he will be cut if not traded the falcons

  26. stogiesandfootball says:
    June 3, 2021 at 2:06 pm
    The Falcons should get a 1st round pick for Jones. He only played 9 games last year and still had 771 yards and caught 75% of the passes thrown his way. Maybe he’s slower from his age, but you won’t find a rookie catching 75% of the passes thrown his way in the first round.
    ___________________________________

    Justin Jefferson “HERE, HOLD MY BEER”!

  27. @ stogiesandfootball, BTW you might want to go check out Julio’s other 9yrs and maybe you’ll notice a 75% catch rate is an an anomaly for Jones, he never passed 70% catches before in his entire career! His previous high was 68.33% in 2013 when he only played 5 games.

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